Japan is famous for its colourful and enriching events and festivals. Wherever you may be visiting in Japan with its array of both local (matsuri) and national festivals, you are sure to be close to a celebration or marked occasion of some sort.
Sapporo Snow Festival
Japan's largest snow festival, held every February, sees hundreds of snow statues and ice sculptures populate the streets of northern city Sapporo.
The Sapporo Snow Festival, considered by many to be Japan's premier winter event, has been going for over 60 years. The festival had humble beginnings back in 1950, when local high school kids built a handful of snow sculptures in Sapporo’s central Odori Park. Since then the event has grown exponentially, with hundreds of snow statues and ice sculptures adorning the park and the streets of the Susukino neighbourhood.
For seven days every year in February, Sapporo is turned into a winter dreamland of crystal-like ice and white snow. Odori Park which serves as the main venue is located in the city centre, and a space extending 1.5km transforms into a snow museum. International Square (Nishi 11 chome, Odori) becomes the stage for the International Snow Statue Contest and every year more than 10 teams compete from all over the world. As this is a park, you can drop by whenever you like. The lit-up snow statues are so beautiful (nightly until 22:00).
In addition to the amazing works sculpted from snow and ice, the festival also has an ice skating rink and attractions for children, such as ice slides and the snow mazes. Naturally, there is also lots of delicious street food to warm you up.
The festival attracts about 2 million visitors each year from Japan and all over the world. A highlight of the 2015 festival was an enormous Star Wars snow sculpture that looked like the Empire's take on Mount Rushmore. The Star Wars snow sculpture measured 15 meters tall, 22.6 meters across, and 20 meters deep. It took almost a month to complete and 700 five-ton-trucks worth of snow. We look forward to seeing how they top that one in 2016!
For more info, visit the official site at www.snowfes.com.
Second week of FebruaryDates and functions are subject to change without notice. Be sure to check the latest information in advance.